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Edythe S. Bagley

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Edythe S. Bagley Obituary
Edythe S. Bagley of Cheyney Edythe Scott Bagley, 86, of Cheyney, passed away on Saturday, June 11 at her home. She was born and grew up in Marion, Alabama, the daughter of Obie Scott and Bernice McMurry Scott. She was the eldest surviving child of three, including her sister Coretta and her brother Obie Leonard. She attended Crossroads School and Lincoln School. Upon graduation as valedictorian of her class, she received a scholarship to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, becoming Antioch's first full-time African American student in modern times. Her Antioch experience was so enriching that it broadened her horizons and enticed her younger sister, Coretta, to enroll two years later. At Antioch she participated in the school's renowned co-operative education program, and among her co-op experiences was a day spent with novelist Richard Wright. After receiving her bachelor's degree from the Ohio State University, Mrs. Bagley returned to the South. While teaching high school English in Talladega, Alabama, she pursued graduate studies at Columbia University and earned a master's degree in English. She then taught and directed plays at Elizabeth City State Teachers College, where she met Arthur M. Bagley, whom she married on June 5, 1954. She later taught at Albany State College, North Carolina A&T University, and Norfolk State University. After returning to graduate school she earned a terminal master of fine arts degree in Theater from Boston University, becoming, in 1965, the first African American woman to do so. Following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she worked full-time with her sister, Coretta Scott King, for two years. In 1970 she accompanied her sister to Europe on a promotional tour for her book My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. Mrs. Bagley served as a consultant in developing a major in Black Drama at Michigan State University from 1970-1972. From 1971 through 1996, she was a professor at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania; due to her leadership, Pennsylvania's Department of Education approved Cheyney's proposal to offer a theatre arts major in 1980 and the university completed the construction of a modern theatre arts facility in 1996. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Bagley directed the student repertory group, the Cheyney Players, and directed many major productions from both classical and modern dramatic literature. Mrs. Bagley was involved in implementing the cultural affairs component of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and was a lifetime member of the its board of directors. Mrs. Bagley and her sister were among thirty-seven sets of sisters featured in the New York Times best-selling book Sisters, published by Running Press in 1994. A member of St. Paul's Baptist Church in West Chester, Mrs. Bagley also belonged to several national organizations including the American Association of University Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Links, Incorporated. She was also an honorary member of the Alpha Psi Omega Dramatic Honorary Fraternity. Mrs. Bagley's husband, Dr. Arthur M. Bagley, was a professor and chair of the Industrial Arts and Technology Department at Cheyney. She is survived by her son, Arturo S. Bagley, of Cheyney, her brother, Rev. Obie Leonard Scott and his wife Alberta, of Greensboro, Alabama, her niece, Dr. Bernice A. King of Atlanta, her nephew Martin Luther King, III and his wife Arndrea and daughter Yolanda Renee of Atlanta, and her nephew Dexter Scott King of Malibu, California. Funeral services will be held Friday, June 17, 2011 at 1 p.m. at the Milestone Events Center, LLC of DeBaptiste Funeral Homes, Inc., 600 East Market Street, West Chester, PA. Friends may greet the family from 12 Noon to 1 p.m. prior to the service. Interment will be in the family cemetery in Marion, Alabama.

Published in Daily Local News on June 14, 2011
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